My Photo

Media Inquiries

  • Contact Sarah Hutson
    Senior publicist, Penguin Press (212) 366-2826, email

Now a National Bestseller

"The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works — and How It's Transforming the American Economy"


Wal-Mart isn’t just a store, or a huge company, or a phenomenon anymore. Wal-Mart shapes where we shop, the products we buy, and the prices we pay—even for those of us who never shop there. It reaches deep inside the operations of the companies that supply it and changes not only what they sell, but also changes how those products are packaged and presented, what the lives of the factory workers who make the products are like—it even sometimes changes the countries where those factories are located. Wal-Mart reaches around the globe, shaping the work and the lives of people who make toys in China, or raise salmon in Chile, or sew shirts in Bangladesh, even though they may never visit a Wal-Mart store in their lives.

Wal-Mart has even changed the way we think about ourselves—as shoppers, as consumers. Wal-Mart has changed our sense of quality, it has changed our sense of what a good deal is. Wal-Mart’s low prices routinely reset our expectations about what all kinds of things should cost—from clothing to furniture to fresh fish. Wal-Mart has changed the lens through which we see the world.

The Wal-Mart effect touches the lives of literally every American every day. Wal-Mart reshapes the economic life of the towns and cities where it opens stores; it also reshapes the economic life of the United States—a single company that steadily, silently, purposefully moves the largest economy in history. Wal-Mart has become the most powerful, most influential company in the world.

Who knew shopping would turn out to be so important?

— from "The Wal-Mart Effect"

Praise for "The Wal-Mart Effect"

The Denver Post
    " Wal-Mart book author has come close to achieving ‘superb,’ until now. Charles Fishman's just-published book, ‘The Wal-Mart Effect,’ is almost certainly the best yet, as measured by depth and breadth of research, writing style and evenhanded treatment."

USA Today
    "In discussing a company of such size, one would expect an analysis to be choked by numbers and statistics. Fishman, however, makes effective use of anecdotes to lend meaning to the barrage of sound bites we hear about Wal-Mart."

Business Week: (four stars)
     "...well-written and insightful. ... Although the folks in Bentonville won't like it, The Wal-Mart Effect is not an anti-Wal-Mart screed."

The Baltimore Sun
    "...a fascinating dissection of the most controversial corporation in America today. ... illuminates the vast and complex impact the company has exerted economically and socially."

San Francisco Chronicle:
     "...highly readable, incisive, precise and even elegant..."

The Christian Science Monitor:
   "...clarity, compelling nuance, and refreshing objectivity.... Fishman explains how Wal-Mart appeals to pennypinchers but leaves many customers feeling conflicted, not cheered..." (review and excerpt)
     "a thoughtful, comprehensive examination of how those famous "everyday low prices" are changing the world."

US News & World Report:
     "...delves deeply into how the retail monolith shapes the economic life of the nation — while never flinching from how Wal-Mart 'mirrors our own energy, our sense of destiny, our appetite for bigness and variety and innovation.'..."

Publisher's Weekly:
     "...presents the case against Wal-Mart in arresting detail, and his carefully balanced approach only makes the downside of Wal-Mart's market dominance more vivid...Fishman puts readers inside the company's penny-pinching mindset and shows how Wal-Mart's mania to reduce prices has driven suppliers into bankruptcy and sent factory jobs overseas."

Jack Covert,
     "When I read a book ... I mark interesting pages with Post-It notes. ... This is a book that is bristling with Post-Its. ... Finding a neutral source - one that doesn't have an axe to grind or a publicity spin to present - for Wal-Mart information is difficult. This book is that neutral source. ...  I want to emphasize how important it is to read this book. This book is a must read for anyone interested in business."

Buy Book

Critics say...

    The Economist
  • 'SUPERB'
    Denver Post
    USA Today
    Baltimore Sun
    San Francisco Chronicle
    Business Week